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The Decline of Job Security: What Can You Do About It?

Job security is a topic seldom discussed among both new hires and seasoned employees, despite the fact that it is on a steady decline. According to Labor in New Economy, “the perceived low quality of many newly created jobs fuels the concern that the nature of the employment relationship in the United States is changing from one based on long-term, full-time employment to one based on more short-term and casual employment.”

This mainly goes to show that the decrease in job security is mainly for those with temporary or part-time jobs and that “the public’s concern arises from the belief that these changes result in lower-quality (lower-paying and less-secure) jobs for the average worker.” However, this doesn’t mean that just because you have been employed a short period of time at a “lower-quality” job that you are going to be let go. Instead, what these statements should do is encourage you to obtain a better understanding of the importance of achieving greater job security and what you can do to get there.

Be Proactive

Being proactive and changing to a more positive, goal-oriented mindset is beneficial not only because it improves your overall outlook on life, but it also the way in which you approach work as well. Longevity and turnover might be good topics for you to ask prospective employers about during the initial job interview. To increase your chances of job security, you should evaluate the way you look at your job. If you think of it as just that, then you might treat getting up and going to work as a chore. But if you view it as something you look forward to, it can change your entire attitude, allowing you to be more proactive in the workplace.

Provide Process Improvement Ideas

Proactively communicating potential ideas to improve processes within your company can demonstrate your ability to think critically and shows your commitment to the company’s well-being. In order to do so, you should conduct an evaluation of your business to find its strengths and weaknesses — what processes should remain, and what needs to be improved. To ease the evaluation process, you can:

  • Listen and Observe: Listen to what your coworkers are saying around you. What concerns are being brought up? How are their attitudes towards the company? Are they major or minor issues?
  • Research the Competition: It can help to research your competition to see what they do that works well for them. This can include basic daily operations, employee engagement/appreciation tactics, and their goods and services they offer. Compare and contrast against your current employer.
  • Review Workplace Policies: Does the company enforce its rules and regulations? Are these rules and regulations up to date with current industry trends?

Communicate With Management

Talking to those in management positions can be intimidating, but it’s important to do so, especially when discussing obstacles that may be preventing you from completing your work. Prior to the conversation, think about what type of relationship you and your manager have. Are they approachable? Do you feel like they will listen to your concerns? If not, then this may require you to begin rebuilding your relationship. But if so, then it is a good time to talk to your boss about your performance and the state of your job security. During this conversation:

  • Own up to your underperformance;
  • Think about your performance from your boss’s perspective;
  • Be straightforward and direct;
  • Offer ideas and suggestions on how you can improve;
  • Be willing to listen to new ideas and suggestions;
  • Ask for advice;
  • Think long term;
  • Resist any overly optimistic impulses.

Improve Your Skill Set

Becoming a lifelong learner and embracing opportunities to advance in your field is just one way to help you keep your recurrent job and open new job opportunities. To improve your skillset includes staying up to date on product knowledge, company policy, and basic job skills (i.e. customer service, computer skills, damage control, etc.). Some career fields, such as certified nursing assisting (CNA’s), may even require you to maintain your skills by having you recertify and take training courses on different guideline procedures.

Continuously working on your skills not only increases your odds of job retention but can help you increase your earning potential as well.

Take Continuing Education Courses

Enrolling in continuing education courses — whether you’re actively seeking employment or have a current job — can improve your employability and help you add to your current skill set. Not all education courses will be presented to you, in fact, you may have to search for them yourself. Some may be free to attend, while others, such as CNA training, may require payment. The nursing field is a great example of an industry that often requires continuing education.  

Get New Professional Certifications

Depending on your field of expertise, you may be able to get new professional certification. These new certifications can help employees increase their odds of landing a secure job while providing them with a new professional title. For example, current CNA’s may choose to continue their education and certify as an RN, or change their area of expertise from in-home nursing to a CNA in the operating room. This not only provides them with more learning opportunities but increases their employability as well.

Form Professional Relationships

Networking with others in your scope of practice can be beneficial for numerous reasons. When you share a common belief, it can help create a topic of discussion that acts as a bridge between job titles. It provides opportunities to interact with everyone in your field. Building these professional relationships can also boost your morale and build a good rapport among coworkers, which can even lead to new employment opportunities if they were to arise. You can build professional relationships similarly to how you would build most social relationships. For instance:

  • Avoid gossip;
  • Be a good listener;
  • Make an effort to talk to others;
  • Show interest in what others are saying;
  • Use your manners.

Find a Mentor

While building professional relationships, you may find yourself following the advice of one person more than others. This could potentially lead to you deeming this individual as your mentor. A mentor is someone that has more experience than you do and who is willing to guide you down a path of success. A mentor is essentially going to be your go-to whenever a question needs to be answered. However, finding a mentor isn’t always as easy as having a conversation with an individual in your field. To help yourself find a mentor ask the following questions:

  • What are your short term and long term goals that your mentor would be helping you with?
  • Who do you look up to?
  • How did that person get to where they are today?
  • How are you going to ask them to be your mentor?
  • Are you sure they are the right fit?

Social Networking

Social networking, when done properly, can be beneficial for those trying to increase their job security. Similarly to why you want to branch out to form professional relationships, you will want to create a vast social network to allow yourself to interact with those who share your interests. A few benefits of social networking include:

  • The ability to stay connected with friends and coworkers;
  • Staying up to date on company news;
  • Allowing others to see what your skills are;
  • Maintaining business connections.

Join Professional Associations in Your Field

If you are employed in a field that has multiple professional associations (i.e. the medical field, finance, arts, etc.) then there is no reason as to why you shouldn’t be a part of one. Just like how having extracurriculars on your resume can increase the chance of you getting a job — being a part of a professional association can help you keep one. Still using nursing as an illustrative example, one of the pros of being a CNA is the number of professional associations and organizations that are available to be a part of like the National Association of Health Care Assistants or the Academy of Neonatal Nursing, to name a few.

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